tilecache_http_server Man page

tilecache(8) GIS Utilities tilecache(8)


tilecache – Cache and serve map tiles


TileCache is a BSD licensed tile caching mechanism. The goal is to
make it easy to set up a WMS or TMS frontend to any backend data ser‐
vices you might be interested in, using a pluggable caching and render‐
ing mechanism.

TileCache was developed by MetaCarta Labs and released to the public
under a BSD license.

The TileCache was designed as a companion to OpenLayers, the BSD
licensed web mapping interface. If you are using TileCache with Open‐
Layers, please read the section of this readme which describes how to
do so. For additional help with setting up TileCache for use with Open‐
Layers, please feel free to stop by #openlayers, on irc.freenode.net,
or to send email to tilecache@openlayers.org.

· TileCache should have a cgi installed under /usr/lib/cgi-bin, called
tilecache.cgi. This is accessible from http://yourmachine.exam‐

· Edit /etc/tilecache.cfg to point the DiskCache to the location you
wish to cache tiles, and the layers to point to the map file or WMS
server you wish to cache.

· Visit:


· Or visit:


· If you see a tile, TileCache is working correctly.

· Edit /etc/tilecache.cfg to point the DiskCache to the location you
wish to cache tiles, and the layers to point to the map file or WMS
server you wish to cache.

· Add the following to your Apache configuration:

Alias /tiles /var/lib/python-support/python2.4/tilecache/

SetHandler python-program
PythonHandler TileCache.Service
PythonOption TileCacheConfig /etc/tilecache.cfg

· Visit one of the URLs described above, replacing tilecache.cgi with

· If you see a tile you have set up your configuration correctly. Con‐

TileCache includes standalone HTTP server which uses the WSGI handler.
This implementation depends on Python Paste , which can be installed
via the python-paste package.

For versions of Python earlier than 2.5, you will also need to install


Once you have all the prerequisites installed, simply run:


This will start a webserver listening on port 8080 (by default), after
which you should be able to open:


to see your first tile.

TileCache includes a fastcgi implementation. In order to use this
implementation, you will need to install flup, available from:


This implementation also depends on Python Paste, which can be down‐
loaded via the python-paste package:

Once you have done this, you can configure your fastcgi server to use

Configuring FastCGI is beyond the scope of this documentation.

TileCache is configured by a config file, defaulting to /etc/tile‐
cache.cfg. There are several parameters to control TileCache layers
that are applicable to all layers:

bbox The bounding box of the Layer. The resolutions array defaults to
having resolutions which are equal to the bbox divided by 512
(two standard tiles).

debug Whether to send debug output to the error.log. Defaults to
“yes”, can be set to “no”

Layer description, used in some metadata responses. Default is

File extension of the layer. Used to request images from WMS
servers, as well as when writing cache files.

layers A string used to describe the layers. Typically passed directly
to the renderer. The WMSLayer sends this in the HTTP request,
and the MapServerLayer chooses which layer to render based on
this string. If no layer is provided, the layer name is used to
fill this property.

levels An integer, describing the number of ´zoom levels´ or scales to
support. Overridden by resolutions, if passed.

The absolute file location of a mapfile. Required for MapServer
and Mapnik layers.

The maximum resolution. If this is set, a resolutions array is
automatically calculated up to a number of levels controlled by
the ´levels´ option.

set to “yes” to turn on metaTiling. This will request larger
tiles, and split them up using the Python Imaging library.
Defaults to “no”.

an integer number of pixels to request around the outside of the
rendered tile. This is good to combat edge effects in various
map renderers. Defaults to 10.

A comma separated pair of integers, which is used to determine
how many tiles should be rendered when using metaTiling. Default
is 5,5.

Comma separate list of resolutions you want the TileCache
instance to support.

size Comma separated set of integers, describing the width/height of
the tiles. Defaults to 256,256

srs String describing the SRS value. Default is “EPSG:4326”

type The type of layer. Options are: WMSLayer, MapnikLayer,
MapServerLayer, ImageLayer, GDAL, ArcXML

url URL to use when requesting images from a remote WMS server.
Required for WMSLayer.

The watermarkImage parameter is assigned on a per-layer basis.
This is a fully qualified path to an image you would like to
apply to each tile. We recommend you use a watermark image the
same size as your tiles. If using the default tile size, you
should use a 256×256 image. NOTE: Python Imaging Library DOES
NOT support interlaced images.

The watermarkOpacity parameter is assigned on a per-layer basis.
This configures the opacity of the watermark over the tile, it
is a floating point number between 0 and 1. Usage is optional
and will otherwise default.

Setting this to ´loose´ will allow TileCache to generate tiles
outside the maximum bounding box. Useful for clients that don´t
know when to stop asking for tiles.

Setting this to “google” will cause tiles to switch vertical
order (that is, following the Google style x/y pattern).

To run OpenLayers with TileCache the URL passed to the OpenLay‐
ers.Layer.WMS constructor must point to the TileCache script, i.e.
tilecache.cgi or tilecache.py. As an example see the example-cgi.html
file included in the TileCache distribution, under /usr/share/doc/tile‐

Note: example-cgi.html assumes TileCache is set up under CGI (see
above). If you set up TileCache under mod_python you´d need to slighly
modify example-cgi.html: the URL passed to the OpenLayers.Layer.WMS
constructor must point to the mod_python script as opposed to the CGI
script. Similarly, you would need to edit this URL if you were to use
TileCache with the standalone HTTP Server or FastCGI.

The most important thing to do is to ensure that the OpenLayers Layer
has the same resolutions and bounding box as your TileCache layer. You
can define the resolutions in OpenLayers via the ´resolutions´ option
or the ´maxResolution´ option on the layer. The maxExtent should be
defined to match the bbox parameter of the TileCache layer.

MapServer has a map level metadata option, labelcache_map_edge_buffer,
which is set automatically by TileCache to the metaBuffer plus five
when metaTiling is on, if it is not set in the mapfile.

If you are using MetaTiling, be aware that MapServer generates inter‐
laced PNG files, which PIL will not read. See
http://mapserver.gis.umn.edu/docs/faq/pil_mapscript on how to resolve

The tilecache_seed utility will seed tiles in a cache automatically.
You will need to have TileCache set up in one of the previously
described configurations.

/usr/sbin/tilecache_seed [options] [ ]

show the program’s version number and exit

-h, –help
show the program’s help message and exit

-f, –force
force recreation of tiles even if they are already in cache

-b BBOX, –bbox=BBOX
restrict to specified bounding box where BBOX is in the format
“left, bottom, right, top”

path to configuration file

-d DELAY, –delay=DELAY
delay time between requests (default: 0)

-p PADDING, –padding=PADDING
extra margin tiles to seed around target area. Defaults to 0
(some edge tiles might be missing). A value of 1 ensures all
tiles will be created, but some tiles may be wholly outside your

-r, –reverse
reverse order of seeding tiles

layer same layer name that is in the tilecache.cfg

zoom start
Zoom level to start the process

zoom stop
Zoom level to end the process

Seeding by center point and radius
If called without zoom level arguments, tilecache_seed.py will seed
zoom levels 5 to 17 and assume that it needs to read a list of points
and radii from standard input, in the form:


The format of this file is:

lon the position(s) to seed longitude

lat the position(s) to seed latitude

radius the radius around the lon/lat to seed in degrees

An example with zoom levels 5 through 12 would be like;

$ /usr/sbin/tilecache_seed -c /etc/tilecache.cfg -b “-118.12500,31.952162238,-116.015625,34.3071438563” Zip_Codes 5 12

The bbox can be dropped and defaults to world lonlat(-180,-90,180,90):

$ /usr/sbin/tilecache_seed.py -c /etc/tilecache.cfg Zip_Codes 0 9

In center point/radius mode, the zoom level range is not specifiable
from the command-line. An example usage might look like:

$ /usr/sbin/tilecache_seed.py -c /etc/tilecache.cfg Zip_Codes

… the seeding will then commence …

The tilecache_clean utility will remove the least recently accessed
tiles from a cache, down to a specified size.

/usr/sbin/tilecache_clean [options]

show program´s version number and exit

-h , –help
show this help message and exit

-s SIZE, –size SIZE
Maximum cache size, in megabytes.

-e ENTRIES, –entries ENTRIES
Maximum cache entries. This limits the amount of memory that
will be used to store information about tiles to remove.

The –entries option to tilecache_clean.py is optional, and is used to
regulate how much memory it uses to do its bookkeeping. The default
value of 1 million will hopefully keep RAM utilization under about 100M
on a 32-bit x86 Linux machine. If tilecache_clean.py doesn´t appear to
be keeping your disk cache down to an appropriate size, try upping this

tilecache_clean is designed to be run from a cronjob like so:

00 05 * * * /usr/sbin/tilecache_clean.py -s500 /var/www/tilecache

Occasionally, for some reason, when using meta tiles, your server may
leave behind lock files. If this happens, there will be files in your
cache directory with the extension ´.lck´. If you are seeing tiles not
render and taking multiple minutes before returning a 500 error, you
may be suffering under a stuck lock.

Removing all files with extension ´.lck´ from the cache directory will
resolve this problem.










(c) 2006-2007 MetaCarta, Inc. Distributed under the BSD license.

2.03 2008-05-19 tilecache(8)